By Owen McCue (@Owen_McCue)
Any time Nyle Ralph-Beyer took the floor during the live periods this summer, he was sure to see someone in red somewhere nearby.
That was the promise Sacred Heart men’s basketball coach Anthony Latina made to Ralph-Beyer after offering him his first Division I scholarship in late April.
“I can’t even count,” Ralph-Beyer said when asked how many times the Pioneers’ staff watched him this summer. “After they offered me, they said they were going to try and come see every game, especially after I took my unofficial. They said they were gonna come to the rest of the games, like every single game, and they did.”
Rider, Hampton, Stonehill, North Carolina A&T and Mount St. Mary’s were other programs that extended scholarships to the 6-foot-4 West Chester Henderson and East Coast Power guard this spring and summer.
Sacred Heart’s commitment to him continued to stand out among the other programs recruiting him throughout the process. During his official visit last Thursday and Friday (Sept. 7-8), Ralph-Beyer felt the time was right to let the Pioneers’ coaches know their efforts paid off. He announced his commitment to Sacred Heart publicly on Thursday.
West Chester Henderson guard Nyle Ralph-Beyer announced his commitment to Sacred Heart on Thursday. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
“I did kind of have a feeling, I’m not gonna lie just because of the way they treated me and my family both on the official and unofficial,” Ralph-Beyer told CoBL on a phone call Thursday. “They’ve been the most consistent with me out of any program since they first offered me.”
“On my unofficial when I first got there, every single coach of the coaching staff was there waiting for me. That showed a lot off the rip. When I was taking my unofficial, they all stayed with me and my family to show us around. It wasn’t just one assistant coach. It was every single coach. That showed a lot.”
Ralph-Beyer kept his decision under wraps for about a week. After his family, the first to know were his Henderson teammates. He let them in on the news after open gym on Monday.
“I’ve been playing with them for a while and they’re important guys to me,” Ralph-Beyer said. “They helped me get to where I’m at today, and they’ve been great teammates for the past three years and some even longer. I just wanted them to know first before anyone, before I got it out publicly.”
Ralph-Beyer averaged a team-high 16.8 ppg last season at Henderson to go along with 5.5 rpg and 2.5 apg. He is the first 2024 recruit for the Pioneers, who went 16-17 overall and 8-8 in the Northeast Conference last season.
The wiry 2-guard knocked down 80 threes for the Warriors and emerged as one the area’s most efficient scorers in 2022-23. He has length, range and explosive athleticism that make him very difficult to stop on the offensive end.
His scoring ability continued to shine on the Hoop Group Showcase League circuit with East Coast Power throughout the summer and has continued into the fall (most recently in a 28-point outing against Archbishop Carroll last weekend).
“My ability to score the ball and how I can be a threat coming into college my freshman year, how they need freshmen who can play basketball and who can play the right way and who can impact right away,” Ralph-Beyer said are things that impressed the Sacred Heart staff.
Ralph-Beyer, who will enter his senior season with 818 career points, led Henderson in scoring as a sophomore (13.8 ppg). A 28-point outing against Ches-Mont power Coatesville that season was a big confidence booster for his career.
“That was one of the craziest games, craziest environments, so dropping 28 points, I knew I could do this,” Ralph-Beyer said.
That confidence continued to grow over the last several seasons at Henderson and with East Coast Power and the big outings continued to pile up more and more frequently. He took a massive leap from his sophomore to junior season and elevated his game even higher this summer as he emerged from an under-the-radar prospect to a surefire Division I recruit.
“I’ve just matured,” Ralph-Beyer said. “My game has matured, my body and I’ve also grown a ton. Me to my freshman year is just a totally different person. … I was locked in during the summer for workouts and stuff like that. I would be in the gym probably every single day, just working on my game and making sure everything’s sharp. It obviously came true and all the hard work paid off.”
He has the length to be a really good off and on-ball defender and said his passing is an underrated part of his game. There’s still another level he believes he can get to.
“I’m a very quiet, laid back dude, so kind of bringing that mentality out of being — I guess you could say — mean on the court and stuff,” Ralph-Beyer said. “I’m not really a big trash talker, I just try to let my game talk, but overall be more aggressive too. Take pride on the defensive end, don’t rally slack on either end.”
Ralph-Beyer and the Warriors have eyes on taking home a Ches-Mont championship and deep runs at the district and state level. That’s where his focus will lie now that his future is secure.
“It was pretty much a dream come true,” Ralph-Beyer said of his commitment. “I’ve always wanted to play D1 basketball my entire life, since I was younger. I felt like I was always good enough to be at that level, so just to get those offers proved and to by myself that I’m capable of playing Division I college basketball.”